One of India’s most beneficial medicinal herbs is one called Ashwagandha, or “Winter Cherry”. An herb originating in the Indian Sub Continent and Africa, this biological member of the solonaceae plant family, has been used by practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine for over 4,000 years. A relative of the Chinese ginseng shrub, the Ashwagandha root has similar medicinal properties, and is said to aid in longevity, as well as aiding those with sexual related problems.
Among the herb’s other benefits are those including stimulating the nervous system and improving memory in older persons. Ayurveda holistic practitioners subscribe this herb for a variety of bodily ills, including anemia, cancer (especially during and after chemo-therapy), immune system problems, nervous exhaustion and fatigue, infertility and impotence, chronic and acute stress, and even ulcers. Those who are familiar with the science of Ayurvedic medical practice know that various parts of an herb, from its leaves to the roots, are useful for different types of medically related problems. The same is true for the Ashwagandha, as its leaves (which are very bitter) are used as an anthelmintic (ridding the body of intestinal worms), and also for the treatment of large boils or carbuncles.
The berries, or fruit, are used to improve kidney function as well as to coagulate milk, which is beneficial for those requiring a more strict vegetable based diet. The roots are used for treating problems of the nervous system, as well as for giving relief to physical weakness and muscle fatigue.
As a nutrient, the Ashwagandha root is recommended to give strength to pregnant women and old people. It also acts as an aphrodisiac, and is said to help restore sperm content in men. Those suffering from back or shoulder pains (lumbago) can also find relief from taking this herb.
Although no noted side effects have been reported, is it recommended not to take preparations of Ashwagandha herb if one is suffering from lung congestion. This is especially true in the case of small children or older persons.